“So he killed your pimp?”
Clair nodded. Her red hair framed her tired eyes.
“In one sense, he and Jake became your pimps after that,” the reporter stated, glancing up from his notes.
Clair shrugged. “Some have said that. In the truest definition, I suppose it is true.” She picked up her coffee mug and took a long sip. “They were not in it to make money, though. Jack knew I enjoyed the sex and I was damned good at it. Still do and still am.” Her eyes rolled. “But they had my best interests in mind and set a goal to get me out of the business.”
“You stay you still enjoy it. There are rumours that you have been seen dancing on occasion at a local strip club. Comment on that?”
She suppressed a tight smile. “Old habits die hard.”
“Even at forty?”
If I’ve still got it, why not?” Her eyes glowed at him over top of her glasses.
“That club is known as, basically, as a bawdy house.”
“So long as all are consenting, Conservatives should mind their own business.”
The reporter chuckled and held up a finger. “Speaking of Conservatives, there is talk of you throwing your hat into the mayoralty race.”
“I don’t wear a hat. Boots, perhaps. Nice thigh high boots.”
“Back for a moment then. Jack and Jake never really got you out of the business then?”
She thought for a moment before answering, “No, but they did give me control over what I was doing. Jack only got money from me that I paid him as a driver and on what I would call a security retainer. He had many opportunities to pull the wool over my eyes, but never did. I think that Jake took care of him so well that protecting me became his passion.”
“How did they give you that control?”
“They helped me realize that I could say no. It was up to me and no one else…no pimp…no john…just me.”
“How did they do that?”
“Indirectly…” She picked up her coffee again. “The day of Jack’s funeral.”
18 years earlier
Clair sat on the couch. Her cheeks were drenched from the tears.
Dawn light filtered into the room and the only sound was Jake snoring in the next room.
She lifted herself from the couch and padded to the kitchen. Filling the coffee maker with water and replacing the grounds, she started a new pot.
She sniffed as she stood in front of the pot.
“A watched pot…”
She had not heard Jake over the perklulating coffee. Pushing red curls from her eyes, she stared at him.
“Did you sleep at all?”
She shook her head.
Jake leaned on his cane and moved forward. “Were it not for my meds, I don’t think I would have either.” He opened the fridge door and glanced back. “Bacon and eggs?”
She nodded and walked over to her bag on the small dinette table. She pulled her BlackBerry out and thumbed through the emails until she found the one she wanted to show him.
Jake put the eggs on the counter as she pushed the BlackBerry in front of him. He stopped and read.
I’m flying in tomorrow. Meet me at the usual.
“I’m assuming you have said no?” Jake eyed her with big brown eyes.
She pulled the phone back and flipped to the next email.
Captain Kirk was the alias used by a regular. An airline pilot that Clair only knew as Jim. He had a huge ego and a lot of aggression as Clair usually came away with bruises from meeting him.
She handed the phone back to Jake.
I don’t give a shit. I have one night. Get to the usual place or I’ve got some nice pictures to share with the authorities.
Jake gasped. “What pictures?”
Her own voice surprised her, “I have no idea.”
There were only three people at the funeral. Jake, herself and a young woman she thought she recognized but could not place.
The blonde was plump and a little younger than Clair. She wore a black pant suit over a white blouse.
Clair clung on to Jake as the stood at the casket. Her black skirt fell below her knees covering the top of her boots. Over top she wore a black turtleneck sweater.
The blonde walked over and eyed them suspiciously. “You must be Clair and Jake?”
Jake answered, “Yes.”
“He spoke of you often. I’m Georgie, Jack’s sister.”
The brief handshake turned into an evening at the pub. The three laughed over shared stories. There were many toasts to Jack’s memory as the evening went on.
Clair checked her phone. “Shit,” she whispered.
Jake, to her right in the booth heard the whisper. “Captain Kirk?”
The email was a drunken tirade with four letter explicatives through out.
Georgie looked concerned. “Problem?”
Clair grinned. “Client who wanted something this evening and wouldn’t take no for an answer.”
“Can I help?”
Clair sipped her red wine. “How…?”
“You didn’t remember me at all?”
Clair cocked her head. “When we were at the parlor, I thought I recognized you but couldn’t remember where from.”
“I was my brother’s lawyer.”
Clair gasped. “Yes, oh my gods, yes! I remember.”
Jake’s eyes were wide at Clair. “I’m sorry. I thought you remembered.” He turned to Georgie and went further, “However, I didn’t realize you were his sister. He spoke of you, but he never talked about the trial.”
Georgie sipped her own beer. “I know what you do, Clair. Jack was very proud of the help he gave you. So, can I help?”
Clair showed Georgie the emails. There were now twenty-two of them and each got progressively angrier.
Georgie pulled out her own cell and dialed a number. She waited for someone on the other side to pick up. “Michael, it’s me. How’s the kids?…good. I need an email run…of course…” She smiled and read off Captain Kirk’s email address. “On my desk in the morning?…perfect. Love you and I’ll be home in an hour.”
“Jack was an uncle?” Jake was shocked.
“Step-uncle,” Georgie corrected. “The angels aren’t mine. I wish they were, though.”
Jake nodded and sat back.
Georgie wrote a message into her phone and snapped it shut. Her eyes glanced up at Clair. “Do you trust me?”
“Noon tomorrow,” Georgie said and pulled a business card from her purse. “Come to my office and we’ll end this asshole’s reign of terror.”
Clair took the card as though it were gold.
“One question, does he have incriminating photos of you?”
Clair shrugged, still holding the card with both hands. “Not that I know of.”
Georgie nodded and snapped her purse shut. “So he’s either bluffing or got you on a hidden cam. If he’s any good with photo editing, he may be doing both.” Georgia stood and pulled her jacket on. “Jake, thank you for this. Clair, a pleasure to finally meet you.” She took Clair’s left hand with her own and looked them both over. “Both of you. Thanks to Jack, I think my family got bigger tonight.”
Jake and Clair rose from the booth and hugged her.
Noon the next day
Clair walked into the office and saw Captain Kirk sitting in the waiting room. He was very pale in his pilot uniform. He glanced at Clair and his eyes dropped into his lap.
The receptionist lead Clair down a hall to a small meeting room with a round maple table and three leather swivel chairs. She sat, as instructed and waited.
After a few minutes, Georgie flowed into the room with a smile. “Hi Clair.” She carried a manila folder and dropped it on the table and took one of the chairs. Rolling it closer to Clair, she flipped open the folder.
“First off,” Georgie giggled. “This fucker is a paranoid chicken shit.”
“He doesn’t even want his lawyer involved for fear of anyone hearing about this. Now, we could hit him with harassment and, if what he told me is correct, even assault. However, he is offering a nice cash settlement and promises not to call you again on his ‘good name’.” Georgie held up her hands in quotes.
Georgie’s smile widened. “One hundred thousand was his first offer. I was going to ask him for maybe five, but that was his first offer and I wasn’t going to argue.”
Clair felt the blood drain from her face. Her smile dawned slowly and she grabbed Georgie’s hand.
“I need some signatures and will have the money before he flies out this afternoon.”
“What do I owe you?”
Georgie shook her head. “Nothing except two conditions.”
Clair was confused but nodded. “Okay.”
“One, keep in touch. And make sure Jake does as well.”
Clair felt some relief at that one.
“Second, I have an idea for the money. You don’t have to do it, but you have to listen to my idea. Deal?”